Facebook is creating a tool to warn people about Russian propaganda – Quartz


Are you worried that you may have unintentionally seen Russian propaganda on Facebook? Do not fear! In his new role as the protector of American democracy, the social network wants YOU to know if you liked the content produced by Russian operators.

"Soon we will create a portal to allow people on Facebook to learn what of the Internet Research Agency [editor’s note: a Kremlin-linked Russian “troll farm”] Facebook pages or Instagram accounts that they have liked or followed between January 2015 and August 2017" said Facebook today (November 22). "This tool will be available for use before the end of the year in the Facebook Help Center."

Portal of the Facebook help center. (Facebook)

Oh, but where's the fun in a simple warning that Russian propaganda has tricked you? Facebook would prefer this to be a challenge! When asked if the company plans to notify users who liked or followed Russian content, a Facebook spokesperson clarified in an email that "they will have to go to the Help Center portal to see the information "and added that the company" will take important measures so that users know this new tool ".

The tool will also not inform Facebook users if they were exposed to content from the Internet Research Agency that they did not like or follow them personally. In other words, if a friend shared pages of Russian trolls, or if they were promoted to your news supply, you may never know it. The portal is only available to US Facebook users, which it calls "part of our ongoing effort to protect our platforms and the people who use them from the bad actors who are trying to undermine our democracy."

Coming from a company that specializes in sharing content, tracking data and addictive notifications in red, which seems very inappropriate at best. The dull tool demonstrates how Facebook is still reluctant to control its platform, even when the company has publicly hardened its stance on propaganda and other so-called "false news" under pressure from federal lawmakers. In September, Facebook confessed to allowing buyers of ads linked to Russia to spend $ 150,000 on US political advertisements during the 2016 election campaign. Approximately $ 100,000 of that spending, in 3,000 political notices, was affiliated with the Internet Research Agency .

Earlier this month, the House Intelligence Committee asked Facebook's general counsel Colin Stretch if the company had an obligation to inform users that they had been tricked by scams and Russian content. "We have tried to notify people about the issue extensively through the information on the website, through our white paper last April, and [the] hard questions blog," said Stretch. "It is a much more challenging issue to identify and reliably notify people who may have been exposed to this content individually."

Facebook created its multi-million dollar business by promising advertisers the ability to hyper-target ads and content for their users. He said in late October that he would make advertising more transparent by requiring that all ads be badociated with a Facebook page when they were created, and provide details about the total spending, impressions and demographics of the audience for political ads.

The company began scrutinizing buyers of Russian ads this spring, after initially badyzing the idea that disinformation on Facebook could have had an impact on the elections. This time last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg dismissed the idea that the propaganda on the platform could have influenced the results, calling it a "pretty crazy idea" and accusing critics of a "profound lack of empathy". Zuckerberg has not testified in any Congressional Hearings.

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